World-class Raul Jimenez invaluable to Wolves, says club hero John Richards

Wolves’ top goalscorer Raul Jimenez has been hailed as ‘world-class’ and a ‘priceless commodity’ by club legend John Richards.

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Raul Jimenez celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Turf Moor (PA)
Wolverhampton Wanderers' Raul Jimenez celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Turf Moor (PA)

Jimenez scored an outrageous volley at Burnley on Wednesday night to make it 26 for the campaign across all competitions.

In the Premier League, he has found the net on 17 occasions – being the first Wolves player to hit that number in the top flight since Richards in 1975/76.

And ‘King John’ – a two-time League Cup-winner with Wolves – said on the Mexican’s strike: “It was a stunner.

“The balance and the timing that he has – the ball came to him that quick.

“It wasn’t even in front of him. It was at the side of him, so he’s sort of held himself up and twisted his foot to smack it on the volley, beautifully.

“He got pace on it. It was stunning. It was one of those goals where you needed to see it again to appreciate how good it was.

“It was sort of like, well, how did that happen? He had no right to score that goal.

“You just saw what the lad could do with his movement.

“He just seems to be getting better, if that can be possible.

“He’s a world-class striker, without a doubt. You see it week in and week out with the way he performs and leads the frontline.

“He works hard as well. You can understand why there’s lots of interest, and why we need to keep him. We need to keep him.”

Jimenez has struck four times since the league term got back under way, with the best of those coming at Turf Moor, brilliantly firing the ball into the far corner.

It would have been a wonderful way to seal a huge win for Wolves, but a much-maligned last-gasp penalty decision went against them and Chris Wood equalised for the Clarets.

Jimenez, though, will be hoping to add to his tally as Wolves take on Crystal Palace on Monday, in what is now widely considered a must-win clash in the race for Europe – although he could possibly miss the game, or the last-day encounter at Chelsea, as he and his girlfriend Daniela Basso are expecting their first child together imminently.

On his goalscoring prowess, Richards added: “It’s priceless.

“There’s a lot of work being done by the team as a whole, but sometimes you only get one or two slight chances.

“Most strikers probably will not take those, but when you’ve got somebody of that class, like Raul, you know he’s likely to pop them in.

“He’s a priceless commodity. What he has contributed goals-wise is invaluable to the club.”

Richards now wants to see Jimenez stay and have a go at beating his 27-goal haul from the 1972/73 Division One season.

Jimenez has also been showered with praise by Wolves skipper Conor Coady for his ‘incredible’ work in attack.

When asked how much he means to the side, captain Coady said: “Honestly, it’s hard to describe him because of what he brings to our team.

“People obviously look at his goals and assists – all the goals he has been involved in – and that’s the biggest thing for us.

“It’s huge what he brings to this club in terms of that.

“But what people maybe don’t watch and see all the time, because they’re just looking at his goals, is what he does off the ball for this team and for this club.

“It’s incredible. He’s a phenomenal footballer, he really is.”

Wolves, meanwhile, have announced that Tsun Dai has completed a move to China Super League side Shenzhen.

The midfielder spent 12 months at Molineux and made seven appearances for the under-23s team.

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